Season 2, Episode 15
Original airing: February 26, 2002
My Rating: 79
You gotta love an episode that focuses heavily on our two favorite Stars Hollow bachelors. The conflict between Luke and Jess is extremely interesting and I love this aspect of Luke that wants to make a nice home but has no idea how to do it in a traditional manner.
Luke’s apartment hunting story was excellent. He needs a lot of Lorelai’s help which leads to some excellent scenes including their pretend marriage with the real estate agent. This was a cruel wink from the show and, man, did I want them to sell that story with a kiss!
The twist of Taylor owning the building was quite clever. We already know he owns Doose’s Market (S1E1) and the video store (S2E12), so it’s not a far stretch to believe he’s also quietly and systematically purchased ten apartment buildings around town. And Taylor was the perfect person to drive Luke completely over the edge and into a willingness to buy a building himself. This is such a great solution because now we can expand the set of Luke’s apartment and still have him around the diner all the time for story purposes. And it led to the final scene of Luke wielding a sledge hammer, which was wonderful on a variety of levels (See Favorite Moment).
We also got not one, but two Luke rants in this episode. That alone is a cause for celebration!
The second main story of Rory’s missing bracelet was also pretty well handled. Her continuing interactions with Jess just get cuter and more interesting. Her inability to explain her feelings or relationship with him to her mother or Jess’ face was very interesting. Rory makes an adorable fumbler, especially when she’s normally so good at articulating. Jess’ smile after her comments to him was perfect.
I really liked the scenes with Jess and Lorelai attempting to get along. It was wonderfully awkward and a great showcase for how much Jess actually likes Rory. Of course, Lorelai will take her daughter’s request seriously, but it takes a huge amount of willingness for a surly teenage boy to attempt to interact with a mother.
I appreciated that we seem to learn here that Jess did not know the importance of the bracelet when he kept it in S2E13 – A’Tisket, A’Tasket. I questioned if he knew the bracelet was from Dean and was keeping it for that express purpose. It just seemed awkward that he wouldn’t give it back when Rory was only a few feet away during his discovery. But having him return it immediately in this episode once he learns its origins seems to indicate he wasn’t aware of its special meaning to Rory. Again, this highlights his feelings for her. In the end, he would rather she’s happy to have the bracelet back than to keep it from her because it’s from Dean.
Lorelai finding Jess coming out of Rory’s room was a great example of organic drama. Her assumption that he returned the bracelet is completely reasonable and spot on. It puts them back on old footing which likely means no more cute Chinese food scenes, but it does allow for Jess to plant the seed of doubt in Lorelai’s head about Rory and Dean’s relationship. It’s a very good question – how did Rory not notice the bracelet missing for two weeks if she normally never takes it off? I’ll give Dean a pass since it seems Rory has been wearing a lot of long sleeves in the cold weather, but Rory should have noticed by now.
On the Dean side, we’re back to Good Boyfriend Dean, who I like much better than Whiny, Jealous Dean. It’s a special man who will sit and wait for his girlfriend for two hours, regardless of what the activity is she’s pursuing. It was really sweet of him to suggest she keep looking even when he obviously wants to go. And I thought his reaction to her missing bracelet was fine. If she normally wears it every day and has done so since he gave it to her, its missing presence would be a mild cause for concern. He doesn’t seem worried about the implication that might exist to their relationship if she took it off, he just seems concerned that it might be lost. And he calms down pretty quickly.
Two other great little scenes were Miss Patty’s night-time cardio walking class (which she presides over from a golf cart) and Michel’s snarky comments after ruining his suit to look for the bracelet. Last episode had Michel helping the girls and complaining about them at the same time as well. I like this trend because it’s nice to see someone on the show who doesn’t fall over himself to make Lorelai’s life easier. More Michel is fine by me.
I found Lorelai overbearing in some parts of this episode in her interactions with Luke. Going up to his apartment to demand he come down and make her special pancakes is a weird abuse of their relationship. He’s supposed to be cooking in the diner at all times when she arrives? Apparently he’s never allowed to have down time if Lorelai is hungry! I’m sure this isn’t actually what she’s supposed to be thinking, but it came across that way to me. It’s awkward to storm in to a friend’s home and demand he switch to his other role in your life of food preparer. I’ve never noticed their dual relationship before but this struck me as a weird moment of their friendship and their proprietor/customer relationship intersecting. The main point is, I thought she was being really irritating.
I also really didn’t like her “I know what’s best for you” attitude when she finds him in the diner watching his tiny TV. Sure, it seems like he could use more space for himself and Jess, but Lorelai isn’t really suggesting he think about it or make that decision on his own. She instantly demands he move to a new apartment. Her tone and phrasing are way too strong. And this demand isn’t something minor. She’s telling him flat out that he needs to move out of a place he already seems to own (the show seems to have implied to me that his father left him the building) to take on a whole new monthly rent which will be several hundred dollars at a minimum. That doesn’t really seem like helping.
Finally, a small moment that bothered me as a rewatch reviewer – I’ve made many complaints in my reviews and on the podcast that Dean is an inconsistent character with contrasting presentation. He’s often spoken of in lofty tones by other characters on the show and then demonstrates rather unlikeable traits including jealousy and inflexibility. Lorelai’s line about Dean’s track record showing he’ll be ok with the fact that Rory lost the bracelet is the highlight of this on-going annoyance. As a viewer, I’m wondering what track record she’s been seeing because based on my observations he’s going to blow up, yell, storm off, and forever hold this over Rory’s head.
Luke’s journey to finding more living space was culminated beautifully when he smashes the wall down in the apartment with a sledgehammer and repeats Jess’ line about holding hands and skipping afterwards while “What a Wonderful World” plays in the background. Luke doesn’t have to move, he’s circumvented Taylor’s plans, and he’s one up on Jess. It is a wonderful world!
The Bottom Line:
This episode had two really strong, well-presented stories with some great additional character moments. While I found some of Lorelai’s bits to be too strong, that’s really a minor quibble in an overall greatly enjoyable episode.